By Joylene Bridgette Malenga
Growing up, for entertainment, we read. For pleasure, we read. To get out of trouble, we read. Just before starting chores for the day, we read. All this reading was the best part of the day! It was a chance to escape the mundane life of cane field suburbia.
This was how to escape, and explore a deeper, darker world. A world of finding your way with a torch, and carrying a penknife in your pocket and a few biscuits that my neighbour’s mum always brought for us. We read so much of Nancy Drew’s adventures that one day, we actually decided that we had found a little alcove of our own to explore! It was exciting planning our upcoming adventure. We had the food covered, the flashlights had new batteries, and we just had to wait for the right time to sneak away. We had to sneak away or else it would be no fun. The day of execution came. I was a no-show. Not because I was a coward. I simply fell asleep. Fatigue from anticipation, I guess. And so my friends had to call it off, and we saved Nancy Drew Alive in Triangle for another day.
We made it to the alcove, underbrush (words from Nancy Drew really)…summarily ditched our plans and scattered to our respective neighbouring homes in utter fear! Someone had seen a leguaan! Another a snake! Another a chameleon! Me, nothing, I was counting the biscuits to share afterwards. Whatever it was that had really been seen, it was clearly menacing enough to have us abandon our courage and occupy ourselves with more reality and life activities that would get us to high school, university and beyond. Regular Nancy Drew could not exist alongside reality.
Here in Zimbabwe, there is a stranger than fiction type of character, whose aptitude for inventions, research and discovery far surpasses that of fictional Nancy Drew. It is largely rumoured that she did not make it very far in high school, and joined the typist pool in the Office of the President somewhere along the line. Her typing skills were clearly much more in demand in the Presidential bedroom as this is where she now resides – her attempted enrollment to finishing school ended in dismal failure too.
The President of Zimbabwe’s wife – The First Typist; The First Second Wife; The First PottyMouth; The First Grandmother to The First Grandson. So fortunate is she that her First Bedmate is the Chancellor of Higher Learning Institutions as she was enrolled a few years ago and lasted two months. It took her two months to enrol, learn at a previously highly respected academic institution that had the highest entry level standard that I have ever heard of – yet takes three months to just answer their phones to answer a query. I have yet to figure out why. In fact, not learn – present her research thesis, carry out the research and arrive at a most astounding and definitive conclusion.
She never had to defend her Doctor of Philosophy in whatever field that was to the academic fraternity as is the usual case – such the unparalleled cogent and inarguable depth of her history redefining revelation.
Hold your breath.
“Girls have a higher chance of falling pregnant than boys. If you look at the statistics, girls have nearly 100% chance of getting pregnant, while boys have nearly zero chances of falling pregnant. This means girls have to be extra extra vigilant,” she said.
“Extra extra vigilant”.
So fortunate were we that for a few years now, the male population of Zimbabwe have been sleeping easy having reached resolution to the pregnancy scare that previously befell them. In the meantime, Zimbabwe has been struck off the English-exempt list of countries and those wishing to apply for international work visas now have to actually sit for the English language and comprehension tests to prove proficiency. Amongst the cited reasons, the integrity of Zimbabwean academic institutions is now deemed questionable.
I really rather wish that First BedFellow had written a fictional book about a brave woman who used her detective skills to investigate and expose corruption within the ranks of the Zimbabwean government, or investigate ways to return respect for the law and for the citizens of Zimbabwe; address the continually growing numbers of school drop outs; oh one could go on. Instead, she supports the fictional money introduced, and lectures at rallies about who is in the sack with who.
At these rallies, the rag tag of spectators are bussed in primary school children, from Grade 1 to Grade 7, on a Friday morning during school hours, while UNICEF in Zimbabwe watches on. The vitriolic content imparted on these poor children consists of bedding partners, cursing opposition women as ‘Queen B’ – perhaps all a reflection of the ability of comprehension of the First Typist. That she was not one to absorb and understand the words that she had to put to paper, merely put them onto the paper, then go to bed.
Regular Nancy Drew is just brimming with ideas that have no business on the socio-political and economic platform. That someone doesn’t switch the microphone off when she talks, in front of children, threatening violence if they don’t support her ancestor-resembling husband is worrying. Mind you, her latest revelation is that The First Ancestor Still Living will rule from the grave…she might be mixing up a country with a charismatic church, eh?
- Joylene Bridgette Malenga is a social commentator for Khuluma Afrika